Online resources: Diocese, Catholic Professionals, Knights, Alo
If you’re looking for something to do during the Covid-19 pandemic, various Catholic groups are utilizing digital media to connect.
Here are some:
+ Family Fun! Quiz Game
These take place on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. sponsored by the Diocese of Burlington. Put your family’s knowledge to the test in this fast-paced competition. Answer trivia questions ranging from the catechism to sports and pop culture. This is a fully interactive online game using Kahoot! with families from throughout the Diocese. Register at vermontcatholic.org/events.
“Online ministry does not have to be only formational or devotional, but can also involve games and can be a lot of fun,” said Deacon Phil Lawson, executive director of evangelization, catechesis, divine worship, marriage and family and respect life for the Diocese of Burlington.
“Michael and Terri, as the wonderful and fun hosts have provided a very fun opportunity for our young people and their families during this time of being at home.”
Michael Hagan is manager of religious education and catechesis for the Diocese, and Terri McCormack is marriage and family life coordinator.
“My favorite part about the quiz game was watching families joke around, argue over answers, and just laugh together,” Hasgan said. “It is really good to laugh together, especially now!”
Added McCormack: “Being able to connect with others throughout the state through the online resources and to be able to laugh has been an amazing grace.”
+ Date Nights
Some 1,500 couples from 142 Dioceses, including Burlington, participated in a 5- night “Be Light: A Virtual Marriage Renewal Date Night Series” April 26-30. Each evening featured a 15-minute video from a married couple and then a few discussion questions for couples. It was specifically crafted for this time of quarantine, acknowledging the challenges of the current reality, but providing thoughtful and realistic insights for couples to grow together during this time and ultimately to “be light.” This event was offered by the “Witness to Love” Marriage Apostolate, (witnesstolove.org).
Another virtual date night takes place May 2 via the “Messy Family Project” apostolate. This free evening includes an interactive game, short presentation and opportunity for Q & A with the leaders.
For more information, go to messyfamilyproject.org/date-night.
“This time is a wonderful opportunity to be creative, and as Pope Francis has encouraged us, to use this time to grow closer to our loved ones,” Deacon Lawson said. “Date night opportunities like this give us, including my wife and I, a chance to spend some quality time just the two of us, talking about our relationship, being inspired by the example of other couples but also comforted as they share the same struggles we’re having, unique to this particular time.”
Lisa Laverty, a parishioner at St. Pius X Church in Essex Center and Mary Niekrewicz, a parishioner of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Williston co-coordinator Alo, an Essex Junction-based mother’s group.
The meetings are aimed toward Catholic women, and for at least the near future they are offering virtually (using Zoom), the rosary on Monday nights from 8 to 8:30 and an Alo meeting each Thursday night from 7:30 to 8:30.
“The Alo meetings feature a 20-minute talk (we have been using recorded talks from the Virtual Catholic Conference that happened a few weeks ago, but may also hope to have some local speakers), and then about 20 or 30 minutes of discussion amongst ourselves using discussion questions relevant to each talk as inspiration,” Laverty explained.
The best way to get involved is to get on the Alo mailing list by either sending her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or signing up on the website alowomen.org. Laverty will send the Zoom link for each meeting and password, reminders, etc.
“We are all so isolated right now, it has been a good way to feed our faith and feel like we are still part of a faith community,” she commented.
+ Vermont Catholic Professionals
The April quarterly meeting was moved online rather than cancelled or postponed as a way to continue to serve Catholic professionals throughout the state during this time of pandemic.
“Instead of cancelling events and isolating ourselves, I feel that Catholic Church is being creative and looking for ways to adapt, overcome and connect with one another,” said Brittany Czekaj, chair of the committee for Vermont Catholic Professionals. “My hope is that through this virtual event, attendees will have the opportunity for professional development from our speaker and will also learn more about faith and career resources available to them during this current pandemic.”
The speaker was John Reuwer, a retired emergency physician and adjunct professor at St. Michael’s College in Colchester. His topic was “From Emergency Physician to Peace Activist: Adventures in Mitigating Suffering.”
Some 55 participants were in attendance online.
Czekaj had to extend the time of the webinar due to participant engagement/Q&A.
“Dr. Reuwer’s talk was very well received, and we have already received several emails with feedback on how impactful this event was, especially during this time,” she said.
+ Knights of Columbus
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Knights of Columbus had its first national live-stream initiation.
On April 16 more than 2,000 men from throughout the United States were initiated, including some from Vermont.
With the approval of their local council, the men who watched the ceremony online are to be considered initiated and members in good standing, as long as their paperwork is in order, said Father Timothy Naples, Vermont state chaplain of the Knights of Columbus and pastor of St. John Vianney Church in South Burlington.
The fraternal organization’s new, public ceremonial initiation is different from the previous secret ceremonies of initiation. There had been three separate degrees of initiation, each with a theme of the Knights: charity, unity and fraternity. “Initiation ceremonies were open only to qualified K of C members and were not supposed to be shared,” Father Naples said.
The new ceremonial initiation, rolled out last year, combined all three themes into one ceremony and removed expectations that the ceremony be secret, so that non-members could attend and observe the initiation. “The notable hope for the new ceremony, at the time it was rolled out, was that it would be hosted in many parish churches, giving the Knights publicity and energy in their parishes, with many people seeing men from their parish join the K of C,” he explained. “At the time there was no thought of the possibility of men ‘participating’ in the ceremonial remotely by computer. There was certainly no idea that even gathering in a church for such a thing would be impossible due to the pandemic.”
Now, with Catholic men and their families “all being stuck at home due to the pandemic precautions, the K of C seized upon the opportunity to live-stream video of this public ceremony of initiation,” he continued.
Father Naples is now hoping to share the ceremony in a live-stream priests/chaplains meeting. “Most of us already went through the old degree ceremonies, and so we would just be seeing the new one for our own benefit, possibly looking ahead to when we might be able to host the ceremony in our churches,” he said.
For other Catholic online resources like a book group, Theology on Tap and other faith engagement opportunities go to vermontcatholic.org/spiritualresources.